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“An Interesting Experience”

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Hotel Astronomico Elqui Domos
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Pisco Elqui
Reviewed June 24, 2013

My Husband, myself, and two of our adult children shared a "dome". We were staying for 2 nights. The weather the first day and night was unfortunately overcast turning to rain with snow on the top of the mountains around us. A number of storms blew up through the Elqui Valley that night and at 1am the electricity failed. Not a problem as the heating was gas (it was however a problem for me as I sleep on a CPAP machine - now power = no machine working = very little sleep). Fortunately the second night the power stayed on. Note to me: look into battery backup or something for CPAP machine. Due to my arthritis we had requested accommodation with the easiest access, so the accommodation dome nearest to the reception area was allocated. The dome was camping without having to take all the equipment. The bathroom was very civilized. The double mattress was very comfortable, as was the single mattress. The fold out lounge, which made the other bed, was not. However, when our English speaking guide arrived in the morning, we requested a mattress to be placed on top of the fold out lounge. This then made a very comfortable bed.
Yes, you must book in for lunch and dinner at Elqui Domos. The food is very good, simple but beautifully cooked and tasty (3 courses at lunch and also at dinner) - soup, main and desert. Breakfast included a hot course as well. The second night also started overcast but by about 8pm the skies started to clear and by 9 the whole sky was a dazzling array of stars. It is no wonder that this area is popular for star-gazing - I have never seen so many stars.

Late May was probably not the best time to visit, however, there were 4 other groups there too.
The people running Elqui Domos did not light a fire in the lounge area and the eating area was not adequately heated for this time of year. So I think that if they wish to encourage tourists in May and the other cold months they do need to have the communal areas welcoming and warm.

There is no TV there. This was not a problem for us - we just borrowed some games and cards from reception and spent the evenings playing cards. I mention this point because we were dropped off at Elqui Domos and collected the next morning for our tour. Elqui Domos is remote. The nearest village is a 45 minute walk away. So if you do not have your own transport, either come prepared to entertain yourself at night (if there are not stars to entertain you), or organize for you guide and transport to stay there too.

We had very little Spanish. An English speaking member of staff on duty would have been very helpful. A lady with good English was there the first afternoon but we did not see her after that.

Breakfast in May was served from 9am (because I am fairly sure no-one got out of bed early in the cold). We had to leave at 8am on our departure day. Our guide arranged for a breakfast tray to be delivered to our dome the previous night. This was very good - cereal, fresh fruit, banana cake, yoghurt and rolls.

Our stay was certainly an adventure. I would stay there again but at a warmer time of year and I would make sure I had my own transport too.

Room Tip: If you have some mobility issues, note that Elqui Domos is on a hillside. The lower two domes may b...
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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4  Thank Dirrawan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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53 - 59 of 167 reviews

Reviewed April 18, 2013

How much you like this hotel will depend on your attitude. If you are expecting a glam boutique hotel you will be sorely disappointed (head north to Atacama). But let's say your attitude is that you want to go camping without the gear—then this is perfect. It's like camping, with tents or basic cabins, and you don't need to bring sleeping bags or cook gear. Not pit toilets either! So, obviously, I'm being a little flip, but I think that many reviewers have noted flaws with the "resort" because they had higher expectations or were anticipating something it isn't. It's quite basic. In a glorious part of the planet with clear blue sky, gorgeous night sky, quiet and relaxing. But, it's no resort destination; it's not fancy, it needs a substantial amount of updating (a paint job in our cabin, the decking around the pool needs a major overhaul as there are nails coming up, etc.), the restaurant is more like a cafe (which you must reserve in advance for, you can't just show up). If you don't speak any Spanish, well, good luck. And, yes, it is well over a hundred very long and steep steps from the car park to a cabin (yurts are a little closer). But we still loved being there, had a great astronomy tour, and the food although simple was delicious.

  • Stayed: April 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Overseez
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 29, 2013

Very special lying in bed looking at the stars in a dome. But the furnishings are tired and marked, there was an old stained mattress propped up in the corner of our room. The restaurant appeared not to be open, we looked twice for the menu during the afternoon as we were told it was Table d'hote. When we went out in the evening it was unlit and empty. Breakfast good.

  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Jan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 10, 2013

The area is well known for its spiritual strength since that it is on the 32 nd parallel south at the exact opposite of llassa. The hotel as a super telescope on site with an astronomer that will show you the stars We slept in very comfy tents that look like igloos with the roofs that you can open and watch the Milky Way from your beds. Great breakfast and friendly staff. The town of pisco is adorable with charming restaurants and you can visit their pisco distallery. This is a stay of a life time don't hesitate to book you won't regret it

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled with family
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5  Thank 9CENT11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2012 via mobile

It's a shame out was cloudy... This is a well known regIon for obsevatorIes. The view of the sky from the bed must be amazing with clear sky. The staying was very comfortable anyway.
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  • Stayed: October 2012
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2  Thank Boscardin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 6, 2012

Visited for 2 nights during a tour of South America and made a change from the usual hotels. We were a party of 6 (including one baby and one 5 year old) so we booked one dome and one of the new cabanas to experience it all. The cabanas were fantastic but very hot, as with such large glass windows for star gazing cause tremendous heat during the day, even with the blinds. The cabanas were at the highest point of the property and having read previous reviews we knew to only bring light baggage. Thank goodness as my body soon realised that we were high up and even though I am fit I noticed it got a bit breathless going up all the dirt steps. Also bring a torch as its not well lit when you walk back at night. There was one large double bed and a sofa/day bed. Unfortunately our day bed was also home to lots of ants so we were lucky that we didn't need to sleep on it at night. The fridge was a great addition. Bathroom was clean and modern but needed some sort of shelf for toiletries in the shower. I loved the observation deck, which was great for sundowners. The rest of the family had the first dome, by the swimming pool. Again hot during the day, and a definite canvas smell but well fitted out. We loved staying here but you did need a car for getting into town.
Not such good points were that it really isnt child friendly and ours had to be watched all the time as it wasn't safe. Big steps to fall down, broken railings, cracked planks, open bridge to the cabanas and deep swimming pool. The place really needs a bit of money spending on it, and for the cost of the rooms this should be a priority as they are not cheap!!
However, it was magical. We ate dinner in the central dome on the first night and it was excellent. Freshly cooked (you have to order dinner earlier in the day) and very well done. The pisco sours were also welcome. They did need to think about a childrens menu as ours were just presented with an adult meal - pisco too!!
The telescopes were pretty poor but we were there before their own observatory opened up so that may not be a problem now.
Having said that I intend to stay again on my next visit to South America as I loved the whole ambience of the place and the staff were lovely.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with family
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6  Thank Meryl R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 19, 2012

The Elqui Domos are geodesic domes set in the Elqui Valley in the Andes in an area know for star gazing. The night sky is incredible!
The facility is outside of the little town of Pisco Elqui and is made up of domes and 3 modern looking cabins. The design is great but the construction did not live up to the design and it is already in need of repair. The choice of flooring makes it look dirty even when it's not, However, having wonderful views of the night sky from bed is amazing.
One of the previous reviews commented on the need to haul bags up dirt stairs for a long distance and that was definitely an issue.
The staff were very friendly and helpful. Meals, other than breakfast, are available but only if you make the request first thing in the morning.
We did the evening astronomical lecture which was interesting but overpriced.
The concept is great but it needs some help to meet it's potential.

Room Tip: Ask for one of the lower domes unless you are willing to haul your bags a long distance
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  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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4  Thank candsontheroad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Astronomico Elqui Domos

Address: Camino Publico Pisco Elqui a Horcon, km. 3.5, Pisco Elqui, Chile
Location: Chile > Coquimbo Region > Pisco Elqui
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 6 Hotels in Pisco Elqui
Price Range: $196 - $198 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Astronomico Elqui Domos 2.5*
Number of rooms: 11
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